“Are you writing the Story you want to tell?” I asked the room full of HR professionals.
“You have the opportunity, no the responsibility to take the pen and write your story.”
I pressed further. “Look around the room and see the people. Everybody has a story –everyone has a story. The Story connects us and allows us to create something unique.”
To create is to cause something to exist. As people, we have the ability or power to create, to bring something into existence, what a thought.
Perhaps the opportunity to create is at the heart of leadership. Driven by a vision, leaders work to build something better.
“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ writes George Bernard Shaw. “But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?'”
While reading an old letter from Paul to the Galatians, I identified three things that will help you live creatively as a leader. Today, let’s dive into the first step: connect with people.
CONNECT WITH PEOPLE
The business of business is people. That being true, life and business can be messy.
Clashing personality styles. Low trust, control issues, and poor communication are unproductive behaviors and invite conflict. Most people are held prisoner in Stuckville, their Comfort Zones. Selfishness limits the ability to see and serve others. Unfulfilled expectations add frustration to the experience.
Historian Nancy Koehn defines “leaders” in her Harvard Business Review, “Whiteboard Session: The Ingredients of Great Leadership.” She says leaders are “Individuals who help us overcome our selfishness, weakness, and fears, and get us to do harder, better, more important work than we would do on our own.”
The people you lead need your help, not your criticism or judgment to achieve their potential.
To live creatively you must connect with people and navigate a messy world. In all your relationships, personally or professionally, you can connect with people by doing the following:
- Practice forgiveness — the only person to suffer by refusing to release resentment is you.
- Extend compassion — knowing your people and being aware of a hard time in their life shows you care.
- Provide encouragement — everybody wants to be appreciated. Engagement is improved as you celebrate progress and give support.
Koehn further observes, “I think the greatest challenge for leaders today is… how do we hold onto our humanity, our empathy, our dignity, our passion, our sense of connection to other people, even our enemies, even those who disagree with (us), in an age that is increasingly dominated by a transactional mode of operating.”
The business of business is people.
CREATE SPACE TO THINK
As a leader, what do you want to create? What’s your vision for your business? Team? Your marriage?
When it comes to the leadership challenge to experience a “sense of connection to other people,” how are you doing? Where is your growth work?
Reflect on the Story using these short questions to dig deeper.
- Who do you need to forgive?
- Who needs to know you care?
- Who would benefit from your encouragement?
- What action will you take to connect with others?
Celebrating you for caring about the people,